American Exceptionalism, which gave birth to the greatest civilization in human history, has reached the tipping point.

Unsustainable debt, unprecedented growth of government, declining prestige in the world, surrender of the rule of law, demographic winter, and the loss of our spiritual and moral heritage literally has the United States of America — as its been known since 1776 — on the brink of extinction. As G.K. Chesterton famously observed, the United States of America “is the only country ever founded on a creed.” And the foundations of that creed – faith, family and freedom – are on life support.

Certainly we didn’t dig ourselves this deep a hole overnight, and we can’t claw our way out of it overnight, either. However, the first crucial step to getting out of the hole you’ve dug yourself is to put down the shovel.

That’s why for those of us expecting to be here at least another 30 years or so, putting down the shovel means getting it right in the 2016 Republican presidential primary. It is the most important election of our lifetimes. While I am normally skeptical of such talk due to its abuse nearly every election cycle, this time it’s actually true.

If our national debt were laid out in single-file dollar bills, the line would stretch all the way to the planet Uranus – and that doesn’t count more than $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities and mandates we’re still on the hook for. Every household in America would need to pay $540,000 to cover that shortfall, and only 1 percent of American households make that kind of money in the first place. If the interest alone on our debt were its own economy, it would be one of the 30 biggest in the world.

There are currently 148 million Americans collecting entitlement checks of some sort from the U.S. government, but there are only 86 million taxpayers working in the private sector paying into the system. That means there are 70 percent more tax takers than tax payers. Ten states have government as their biggest industry.

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